New 27" iMac slower than 2006 MacBook?

Jnardis

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Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
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I just purchased the new 27" imac and have been messing around with files coming off of an external hard drive that is connected through the network. All in all it seems like my old MacBook transfers files much faster from the external hard drive to the MacBook than my Imac from the external hard drive to the Imac. I tested it a few times and the results are:

Transferring the same exact file 112.4MB size.

The MacBook transfered the file in 1min and 27 seconds
The iMac transfered the the same file in 8 in and 42 seconds

I would assume the iMac should be A LOT faster than an old MacBook. Could I have some settings messed up in the iMac?

The imac is the base line for 27 inch (3.2 GHz Intel core i3, 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3

The MacBook is (2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2

Any help would be much appreciated. I really hope the imac isn't slower than my old MacBook.
 

Queso

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Mar 4, 2006
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Wired or wireless? And how do you have the networking settings configured?
 
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o2xygen

macrumors regular
Jan 25, 2009
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In no way is a '10 iMac slower than a '06 Macbook. You said the hard drive was connected via a network. Obviously you have a network problem or something else.
 
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Spanky Deluxe

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Mar 17, 2005
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London, UK
If they're both transferring through wireless then what is your signal strength. A lower signal strength will usually resort in a slower connection speed so downloads will be slower.
 
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Jnardis

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Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
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Both computers are wireless. How can I find out the speed for each computer? The external hard drive is plugged into an old PC that I have running 24/7. I log into the external hard drive by going to "connect server" function on the apple and I put the server address in and my un and pw. Thanks for the feedback so far.
 
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drambuie

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2010
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There's something very wrong, even with your faster Macbook's speed. At the normal wireless G 54Mbps speed, your 112MB file should transfer in less than 20 seconds. Your Macbook's transfer speed is about 10Mbps. Your iMac's speed is less than 2Mbps. That's lower than the average cable internet connection speed.
 
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Jnardis

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Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
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I just used testmyspeed.com and the download speed was 6024kbps and the upload speed was 1829kbps. Is there anything I can do? I can't live with taking 8 min to transfer one file. I have all my stuff stored on the external hard drive so this would drive me crazy.
 
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aliensporebomb

macrumors 68000
Jun 19, 2005
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Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
Sigh...

I just used testmyspeed.com and the download speed was 6024kbps and the upload speed was 1829kbps. Is there anything I can do? I can't live with taking 8 min to transfer one file. I have all my stuff stored on the external hard drive so this would drive me crazy.
That's not referring to your computer-to-computer speed - it's referring to your internet service providers connection.

Your internet service provider gives you your outside connection.

Your inside connection pc-to-pc or mac-to-mac or pc-to-mac should be immensely faster.
 
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xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
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I just used testmyspeed.com and the download speed was 6024kbps and the upload speed was 1829kbps. Is there anything I can do? I can't live with taking 8 min to transfer one file. I have all my stuff stored on the external hard drive so this would drive me crazy.
The speed test you just ran is your Internet connection speed, not the speed of your local area network (LAN).

We need more details about how your network is set up. What kind of wireless router? How is the PC connected (Ethernet 10Mbit, 100Mbit, 1Gbit)? The more details you can provide, the better.
 
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Jnardis

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Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
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I apologies for not giving all the info. I'm pretty new to all of this. I'm using a linksys wrt300N Wireless N router. The external hard drive is an hp and it's connected to an HP tablet via hard wire. I right clicked on the drive and pressed share on network. Once it's shared I was able to see the drive from other computers through the connect to server function on my imac. Any other info that could help?
 
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Spanky Deluxe

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Mar 17, 2005
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London, UK
How many bars of signal strength do you have on your iMac? Top right corner of screen. If it's more than your MacBook then there's your problem.
 
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Jnardis

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Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
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So after playing with imac for about 6 hours last nght I still wasn't able to figure my problem out. Apple doesn't have a program where they send someone to my house to help, right?
 
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Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
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London, UK
No they don't, you have to take it to an Apple store. You could try placing your MacBook next to your iMac and setting up an ad-hoc network between the two of them and then try transferring files. It's far more likely that the problem lies with your router.
 
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jmpage2

macrumors 68040
Sep 14, 2007
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So after playing with imac for about 6 hours last nght I still wasn't able to figure my problem out. Apple doesn't have a program where they send someone to my house to help, right?
Both of your devices show slow wireless performance with the iMac being particularly slow.

It is entirely possible that there is something wrong with your wireless router, I have had them fail before where the radio keeps resetting resulting in connection resets and slow transfer speeds.

As others have said, get a long ethernet cable and connect the computers directly to the router and verify that going over wired ethernet you get fast speeds. In fact, if file transfer is a big deal to you this would be a good thing to consider doing permanently. My iMac is connected via wired and with gigabit speeds I can transfer over 20 megabytes per second which makes moving around large files like video, a breeze.

Alternatively I would recommend that you buy another wireless router for testing purposes. Get one that has dual band "N" like the Netgear 3700. You should see blazing wireless speeds with it approaching 100 megabits per second.

You can always return the router to a Best Buy, etc, if it doesn't fix the problem.

It is entirely possible that there is some kind of driver or settings problem going on with your existing wireless, it just comes down to how hard you want to look to fix it.

One relatively easy thing you can try is going into the setup page of your router and try moving it to another radio band to see if that helps, you might be having interference problems, even if both Macs show full bars.

And yes, you CAN get someone out to help you with this, there are plenty of Geek Squad type support services if you are near a major metro that will come out and help you troubleshoot the issue, but typically you are looking at $150 minimum for such a service... far cheaper to buy a new top shelf router yourself and try a swapout as well as checking in the appropriate forums for further advice.
 
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Jnardis

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
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I thought the same thing regarding the problem is the router, but when I try to transfer files from another PC (Dell), the transfer is much quicker. So that made me think it was something to do with the iMac.
 
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jmpage2

macrumors 68040
Sep 14, 2007
3,068
386
I thought the same thing regarding the problem is the router, but when I try to transfer files from another PC (Dell), the transfer is much quicker. So that made me think it was something to do with the iMac.
It is possible that the wireless network card in the iMac is not playing nicely with the model of router you have. Which again, would mean a router swap to a newer model, would be the fastest way to test. It is also possible that the wireless card in the Mac is defective, but I doubt this since you are also getting pretty poor speeds with the Macbook. In any event, swapping the router is easier than swapping out the Mac or hauling it in to the Apple Store.
 
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Jnardis

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
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Both of your devices show slow wireless performance with the iMac being particularly slow.

It is entirely possible that there is something wrong with your wireless router, I have had them fail before where the radio keeps resetting resulting in connection resets and slow transfer speeds.

As others have said, get a long ethernet cable and connect the computers directly to the router and verify that going over wired ethernet you get fast speeds. In fact, if file transfer is a big deal to you this would be a good thing to consider doing permanently. My iMac is connected via wired and with gigabit speeds I can transfer over 20 megabytes per second which makes moving around large files like video, a breeze.

Alternatively I would recommend that you buy another wireless router for testing purposes. Get one that has dual band "N" like the Netgear 3700. You should see blazing wireless speeds with it approaching 100 megabits per second.

You can always return the router to a Best Buy, etc, if it doesn't fix the problem.

It is entirely possible that there is some kind of driver or settings problem going on with your existing wireless, it just comes down to how hard you want to look to fix it.

One relatively easy thing you can try is going into the setup page of your router and try moving it to another radio band to see if that helps, you might be having interference problems, even if both Macs show full bars.

And yes, you CAN get someone out to help you with this, there are plenty of Geek Squad type support services if you are near a major metro that will come out and help you troubleshoot the issue, but typically you are looking at $150 minimum for such a service... far cheaper to buy a new top shelf router yourself and try a swapout as well as checking in the appropriate forums for further advice.


Thanks for the advice. So the netgear 3700 is the best router out there? I will pick one up tonight. It is a big deal to me since my external hard drives hold all my files and I would love to be able to tap into them and use any computer in the house.
 
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jmpage2

macrumors 68040
Sep 14, 2007
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386
Thanks for the advice. So the netgear 3700 is the best router out there? I will pick one up tonight. It is a big deal to me since my external hard drives hold all my files and I would love to be able to tap into them and use any computer in the house.
In my own personal experience this is the best consumer grade router on the market and the 3rd party testing and reviews seem to back this up.

Be aware that this router actually has two wireless radios built in. One is 5.4ghz "N" only and the other is a 2.4ghz radio that can do wireless B, G, N.

You will get the highest performance off of the Mac by connecting to the 5.4ghz wireless band (this one also has less interference typically), I'm not sure if the Mac supports dual radios so it can connect to both radios at the same time.

The other nice thing about this router is that it has four gigabit ethernet ports so you can connect some of your devices that way and get even better performance.

If you do get this router then make sure that you update the firmware on it and set up security on it. There's a setup wizard that should be pretty easy to use to get going. You will also want to name the two wireless networks separately. For example mine are named as follows;

"honeycomb-hideout-bgn"
"honeycomb-n"

Then you can simply add both of those wireless networks to all of your wireless devices. If you need more help troubleshooting after getting this router let me know, I'm pretty good at troubleshooting network issues since it's what I do for a living.
 
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Jnardis

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 2, 2010
654
0
In my own personal experience this is the best consumer grade router on the market and the 3rd party testing and reviews seem to back this up.

Be aware that this router actually has two wireless radios built in. One is 5.4ghz "N" only and the other is a 2.4ghz radio that can do wireless B, G, N.

You will get the highest performance off of the Mac by connecting to the 5.4ghz wireless band (this one also has less interference typically), I'm not sure if the Mac supports dual radios so it can connect to both radios at the same time.

The other nice thing about this router is that it has four gigabit ethernet ports so you can connect some of your devices that way and get even better performance.

If you do get this router then make sure that you update the firmware on it and set up security on it. There's a setup wizard that should be pretty easy to use to get going. You will also want to name the two wireless networks separately. For example mine are named as follows;

"honeycomb-hideout-bgn"
"honeycomb-n"

Then you can simply add both of those wireless networks to all of your wireless devices. If you need more help troubleshooting after getting this router let me know, I'm pretty good at troubleshooting network issues since it's what I do for a living.
WOW - I can't thank you enough. I'm sure I will be asking some more questions after I purchase it. Thanks again. I assume my Linksys router isn't that great, right? I did buy it about 3 yearsa go. Out dated?
 
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jmpage2

macrumors 68040
Sep 14, 2007
3,068
386
WOW - I can't thank you enough. I'm sure I will be asking some more questions after I purchase it. Thanks again. I assume my Linksys router isn't that great, right? I did buy it about 3 yearsa go. Out dated?
Yes, it is pretty outdated, but there may or may not be anything wrong with it.... it's just the single easiest thing to swap out since it is effectively the "heart" of your home network.

BB has the Netgear 3700 on sale for about $149 so I would say you should update the router, do some testing and get back to us. If it does not help remedy the situation you can always return it and get your money back.
 
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